Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun See dessert.
  • noun A deserving; that which makes one deserving of reward or punishment; merit or demerit; good conferred, or evil inflicted, which merits an equivalent return: as, to reward or punish men according to their deserts.
  • noun That which is deserved; reward or penalty merited.
  • noun Synonyms Desert, Merit, Worth. Desert expresses most and worth least of the thought or expectation of reward. None of them suggests an actual claim. He is a man of great worth or excellence; intellectual worth; moral worth; the merits of the piece are small; he is not likely to get his deserts.
  • To abandon, either in a good or a bad sense; forsake; hence, to cast off or prove recreant to: as, to desert a falling house; a deserted village; to desert a friend or a cause.
  • To leave without permission; forsake; escape from, as the service in which one is engaged, in violation of duty: as, to desert an army; to desert one's colors; to desert a ship.
  • To quit a service or post without permission; run away: as, to desert from the army.
  • noun Specifically — In phytogeography, one of the three principal types of Schimper's climatic formations, the result of excessive drought or cold. In desert all surviving vegetation is stunted and the difference between woodland and grass-land (the other two grand types) is obliterated.
  • Deserted; uncultivated; waste; barren; uninhabited.
  • Pertaining to or belonging to a desert; inhabiting a desert: as, the desert folk.
  • noun A desert place or region; a waste; a wilderness; specifically, in geography, a region of considerable extent which is almost if not quite destitute of vegetation, and hence uninhabited, chiefly on account of an insufficient supply of rain: as, the desert of Sahara; the Great American Desert.
  • noun = Syn, Wilderness, Desert. Strictly, a wilderness is a wild, unreclaimed region, uninhabited and uncultivated, while a desert is largely uncultivable and uninhabitable owing to lack of moisture. A wilderness may be full of luxuriant vegetation. In a great majority of the places where desert occurs in the authorized version of the Bible, the revised version changes it to wilderness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to a desert; forsaken; without life or cultivation; unproductive; waste; barren; wild; desolate; solitary.
  • adjective (Bot.) the assemblage of plants growing naturally in a desert, or in a dry and apparently unproductive place.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) a small hare (Lepus sylvaticus, var. Arizonæ) inhabiting the deserts of the Western United States.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) an American mouse (Hesperomys eremicus), living in the Western deserts.
  • noun That which is deserved; the reward or the punishment justly due; claim to recompense, usually in a good sense; right to reward; merit.
  • noun A deserted or forsaken region; a barren tract incapable of supporting population, as the vast sand plains of Asia and Africa which are destitute of moisture and vegetation.
  • noun A tract, which may be capable of sustaining a population, but has been left unoccupied and uncultivated; a wilderness; a solitary place.
  • transitive verb To leave (especially something which one should stay by and support); to leave in the lurch; to abandon; to forsake; -- implying blame, except sometimes when used of localities.
  • transitive verb (Mil.) To abandon (the service) without leave; to forsake in violation of duty; to abscond from
  • intransitive verb To abandon a service without leave; to quit military service without permission, before the expiration of one's term; to abscond.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A barren area of land or desolate terrain, especially one with little water or vegetation; a wasteland.
  • noun figuratively Any barren place or situation.
  • adjective Abandoned, deserted, or uninhabited; usually of a place.
  • verb To leave (anything that depends on one's presence to survive, exist, or succeed), especially when contrary to a promise or obligation; to abandon; to forsake.
  • verb To leave one's duty or post, especially to leave a military or naval unit without permission.
  • noun usually in plural That which is deserved or merited; a just punishment or reward

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb desert (a cause, a country or an army), often in order to join the opposing cause, country, or army
  • noun arid land with little or no vegetation
  • verb leave behind
  • verb leave someone who needs or counts on you; leave in the lurch

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French désert or Old French desert, from Vulgar Latin desertum, from Latin desertus ("left waste"), past participle of deserere ("abandon").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French déserter, from Late Latin desertare, from Latin desertus, from deserere ("abandon")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English from the Old French deserte, from deservir ("to deserve"). This in turn is from the Vulgar Latin deservire ("to gain or merit by giving service")

Examples

  • It is true that in almost every desert there are these sandy plains, yet are there other parts of its surface of a far different character, equally deserving the name of _desert_.

    The Desert Home The Adventures of a Lost Family in the Wilderness

  • That's not to say I'm perfect – I've acquired the nickname 'desert cactus' because I hardly drink during training, which is something I need to work on.

    Keri-Anne Payne: 'Swimming is my passion. Baking comes a close second'

  • The term desert is far more true because wasteland is abhorrently incorrect.

    jfloydking Diary Entry

  • My idea of a desert is an eternal agony, plotted by the fury of the aridity, by the implacable confusion of a sun which, trampled by the wind, melts with the sand, until there is no other landscape than the sand dominating the sky, the ground, the wind.

    Flowers in the Desert

  • My idea of a desert is an eternal agony, plotted by the fury of the aridity, by the implacable confusion of a sun which, trampled by the wind, melts with the sand, until there is no other landscape than the sand dominating the sky, the ground, the wind.

    Flowers in the Desert

  • My idea of a desert is an eternal agony, plotted by the fury of the aridity, by the implacable confusion of a sun which, trampled by the wind, melts with the sand, until there is no other landscape than the sand dominating the sky, the ground, the wind.

    Flowers in the Desert

  • My idea of a desert is an eternal agony, plotted by the fury of the aridity, by the implacable confusion of a sun which, trampled by the wind, melts with the sand, until there is no other landscape than the sand dominating the sky, the ground, the wind.

    Flowers in the Desert

  • My idea of a desert is an eternal agony, plotted by the fury of the aridity, by the implacable confusion of a sun which, trampled by the wind, melts with the sand, until there is no other landscape than the sand dominating the sky, the ground, the wind.

    Flowers in the Desert

  • My idea of a desert is an eternal agony, plotted by the fury of the aridity, by the implacable confusion of a sun which, trampled by the wind, melts with the sand, until there is no other landscape than the sand dominating the sky, the ground, the wind.

    Flowers in the Desert

  • My idea of a desert is an eternal agony, plotted by the fury of the aridity, by the implacable confusion of a sun which, trampled by the wind, melts with the sand, until there is no other landscape than the sand dominating the sky, the ground, the wind.

    Flowers in the Desert

Comments

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  • Abandon or topography.

    November 22, 2007